Question about Ribbon mics

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Question about Ribbon mics

Post by hopeless_opus » Thu May 18, 2006 7:58 am

I'm thinking of getting a ribbon mic. What I am curious about is how much ambient noise they pick up in poor environments.

For example a condensor will pick up people talking out side and cars driving by, while a dynamic only really picks up the source immediately in front of it.... for the most part. Where does a ribbon fall between these two? (ignoring that fact that most Ribbons are figure 8.)

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Post by djimbe » Thu May 18, 2006 8:42 am

Most ribbons are les sensitive than other dynamic mics. Not all ribbons, mind you, but the ones I'm familiar with (Coles, old Shure models, some of the Beyers, Reslos...). I don't know how the recent and affordable Chinese offerings stack up in this regard...
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Post by hopeless_opus » Thu May 18, 2006 10:53 am

By less sensitive, I am assuming you mean that Ribbons will pick up even less ambient noise than other dynamics! Sounds like they could be great for use in less than ideal environments. (like my apartment)

Anybody know how the chinese (shinybox 46's especially) hold up to something like the AEA's in terms of sensitivity?

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Post by surf's up » Thu May 18, 2006 11:40 am

i think it depends on what you are recording. if you are recording acoustic guitar or a quiet singer, you will have to add a lot of gain with the preamp since most ribbons have low output, which will inevitably bring up the noise of the room.

i like ribbons for a drum room mic or electric guitar but not as much for quiet stuff for this very reason. also keep in mind they are typically of a figure 8 pattern but not always.

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Post by Eric Rottmayer » Thu May 18, 2006 2:13 pm

i've only been using my shinybox ribbons for a few months now (and they
are the only ribbon mics i have used extensivley) but i'm starting to understand
that they sound OK on some things close up (combo amps) but they sound
incredible on some things from farther away (drums, acoustic guitar).
so i've been using mine in conjunction with other mics. as far as ambient noise,
the shinybox mics (i have the 23L & the 46) are pretty quiet but have a
tendency to exagerate low rumble i.e. walking on a floor/carpet.

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Post by thearnicasync » Thu May 18, 2006 3:14 pm

I've been playing with the R84/R92 for a week, and I'm in love!

I think a ribbon would be perfect for less than ideal environments, because so much of the tone is going to be the mic itself. Also,

I find both of these mics to be a little noisy (with lots of gain, which they require), but it's a tradeoff I'm willing to accept.

It's interesting, I have a u195, a couple other condensers, and next to R84, they sound like a bag of potato chips. I think there are people buying fatsos that don't realize what they need is a ribbon :D

I've never found a better way to kill bad digital much fun, these ribbons!


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Post by inverseroom » Thu May 18, 2006 4:13 pm

It all depends on the pattern. The Beyer M160 is hypercardioid, and has a very tight pattern. The TapeOp ribbon is a figure 8 and can be used as a room mic...check the specs of the mics you're looking at!

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Post by jeddypoo » Fri May 19, 2006 7:35 am

I love the sound of ribbons for vocals. My friend Scott at Ghost Town Recording up in Shelburne Falls, MA. has an incredible, huge live room and generally if we do a vocal with one of his ribbons, it requires ZERO processing afterwards. The figure 8 pattern picks up a wonderful natural slapback from the hard walls. It's an amazing sound.
I recommend having one, just to have the option. They're weird for some things, but it's a sound that can't be created with regular dynamics or condensers.
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Post by hopeless_opus » Fri May 19, 2006 10:00 am

Thanks guys, I'm thinking I may give one a shot.

Here is one more questioon: How will the ambient pick up compare to an SM7?

I have an AT4047, but my new apartment is poorly insulated (the 4047 picks up a lot of ambiant noise) and I can't use it for vocals or quiet sources. I'm hoping the ribbon will work for me, since it would be a little more versitale than something like an SM7.

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